Thursday, October 20, 2011

Women applying makeup while driving to be fined in Dubai

"Women drivers in Dubai beware!

Applying makeup while driving can now get you pulled over and fined. If texting, speaking on mobiles phones and reading newspapers while driving is dangerous, so is applying make-up, said a top traffic official."

Nawaz, Musharraf responsible for energy crises

Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem has said that Pervez Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif are responsible for the energy crises as they failed to produce even one megawatt of electricity during their tenures.
While speaking to journalists after inaugurating the 6th Expo 2011 here on Thursday, he said that PPP was in the power and PML-N was strolling in the streets.
The country was facing acute energy crisis, he said further adding that it was also expected fact that most of the business community was shifting its investment to foreign countries.
He said the government was working on the projects of power generation besides huge dams and small water reservoirs. Pak Iran gas pipeline and start of Diamir Bhasha Dam was the important developments in this regard, he said and added that the condition of law and order in the country was also getting improving slowly.
Earlier while speaking to the inaugural ceremony of the Expo 2011, the minister said the federal cabinet would give approval regarding trade policy soon. He said the expo would not only promote the business related activates in the country but would al

Celebrations erupt in Libya


Even before confirmation of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's death came from the nation's interim government Thursday, Libyans erupted in jubilation after early reports said he had been captured or killed.

A "cacophony of celebration" could be heard in Tripoli as ships and cars blasted their horns and shots were fired into the air, said CNN's Dan Rivers.

"It is very, very loud -- a lot of excitement," Rivers said.

"It's a great moment," said Mahmoud Shammam, information minister for Libya's National Transitional Council. "I've been waiting for this moment for decades, and I'm thanking God that I'm alive to see this moment."

Muammar Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42-years of one-man rule "rats," but in the end it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth.

"He called us rats, but look where we found him," said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway.

Government fighters, video evidence and the scenes of sheer carnage nearby told the story of the dictator's final hours.

Shortly before dawn prayers on Thursday, Gaddafi surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.

But they did not get far.

NATO said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to pro-Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) on Thursday, but the alliance said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi.

Fifteen pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns lay burned out, smashed and smoldering next to an electricity sub station some 20 meters from the main road, about two miles west of Sirte.

They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the former rebels have assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the once feared leader.

But there was no bomb crater, indicating the strike may have been carried out by a helicopter gunship, or had been strafed by a fighter jet.

Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn in the grass. Some 50 bodies in all.

Gaddafi himself and a handful of his men escaped death and appeared to have ran through a stand of trees toward the main road and hid in the two drainage pipes.

But a group of government fighters were on their tail.

"At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use," said Salem Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road. "Then we went in on foot.

"One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me," he told Reuters.

"Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. 'My master is here, my master is here', he said, 'Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded'," said Bakeer.

"We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying 'what's wrong? What's wrong? What's going on?'. Then we took him and put him in the car," Bakeer said.

At the time of capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his leg and to his back, Bakeer said.

Other government fighters who said they took part in Gaddafi's capture, separately confirmed Bakeer's version of events, though one said the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was shot and wounded at the last minute by one of his own men.

"One of Muammar Gaddafi's guards shot him in the chest," said Omran Jouma Shawan.

Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said. NTC officials later announced he was dead.

Fallen electricity cables partially covered the entrance to the pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently Gaddafi bodyguards lay at the entrance to one end, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged wound on his leg.

Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso.

Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted "Allahu Akbar" and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete parapets of the highway.

"Gaddafi was captured here," said one simply.

From there Gaddafi was taken to the nearby city of Sirte where he and his dwindling band of die-hard supporters had made a last stand under a rain of missile and artillery fire in a desperate two-month siege.

Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and gesturing with his hands as he was dragged from a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling group of government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair.

He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture.

Moammar Gadhafi Dead: White House Reaction

Clinton arrives in Pakistan for talks

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

on Thursday flew into Pakistan for crunch talks with the leadership after calling on Islamabad to "do more".
She touched down at the Chaklala military airbase shortly after 7:00pm (1400 GMT) and was expected to head straight into a first round of meetings, said a correspondent travelling with her.
Earlier Hillary Clinton demanded that Pakistan dismantle Taliban safe havens, stepping up the pressure on Islamabad as American troops pressed a major offensive along the border.
She warned the Taliban to be part of a peaceful future or face a continuing assault, but urged Islamabad to play a "constructive" role in bringing militants to negotiations aimed at ending the 10-year war in Afghanistan.
"And now it's a question as to how much cooperation Pakistanis will provide in going after those safe havens," she said.
"We intend to push the Pakistanis very hard as to what they are willing and able to do with us... to remove the safe havens and the continuing threats across the border to Afghans," said Clinton.
She warned militants that "we are going to seek you in your safe havens" on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border and confirmed a US operation against the hardline Haqqani network it blames for some of the worst war attacks.
"There was a major military operation inside Afghanistan in recent days that has been rounding up and eliminating Haqqani operatives on this side of the border," Clinton told reporters in a leafy plaza of Karzai's palace.
She later flew into Pakistan, where she was to be joined by CIA chief David Petraeus and top US military officer Martin Dempsey for her talks.
But policy makers in Islamabad fundamentally disagree with US strategy in Afghanistan, believing military options are limited and that now is the time to press for a comprehensive reconciliation ahead of a NATO withdrawal in 2014.
It is Clinton's first visit to the region since a siege of the US embassy in Kabul and a truck bombing on a NATO outpost that wounded 77 Americans last month.
Washington blamed the attacks on the Haqqanis, who have a haven in Pakistan.
Dempsey's predecessor Admiral Mike Mullen called the Haqqani network the "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and accused Pakistani spies of being involved in the embassy siege, dramatically worsening ties.
US commanders say the Haqqanis are their most potent enemy in eastern Afghanistan and increasingly capable of launching high-profile attacks in Kabul. It is an Afghan Taliban faction, loyal to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
In what Pakistanis are likely to interpret as a contradiction, Clinton said her talks will focus on "how to increase pressure on the safe havens" while urging Pakistan to support efforts at negotiations.
"We believe that they can play either a constructive or a destructive role in helping to bring into talks those with whom the Afghans themselves must sit across the table and hammer out a negotiated settlement," she said.
"We will be looking to the Pakistanis to take the lead because the terrorists operating outside of Pakistan pose a threat to Pakistanis, as well as to Afghans and others," she said.
Karzai spoke of "shifting the focus" of the peace effort to Pakistan, saying that establishments there control to a "very, very great extent" the Taliban.
Pakistani security officials say privately that contacts are maintained with insurgent groups to facilitate any eventual settlement in Afghanistan -- a possibility that would be squandered if it launched any new offensive.
Islamabad argues that it has already made tremendous sacrifices, losing 3,000 soldiers and thousands of civilians in bomb attacks on its soil, and that it cannot do what the Americans demand when the relationship is so unpopular.
Minutes before Clinton arrived, the paramilitary announced that at least three soldiers and up to 34 militants were killed in a gun battle in the tribal district of Khyber, a key route for NATO supplies into Afghanistan.
"When the Americans ask us to do more, why don't they try to understand our problems and address our reservations and concerns?" one Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Pakistan will tell the Americans that the military options are getting limited in Afghanistan and there is a need to promote a genuine Afghan-led peace process," he added.

Sharif brothers involve in Rs. 50m corruption

Pakistan Today

Secretary Information Pakistan People’s Party Punjab chapter, Dr. Fakhar ud Din Chaudhry has said that Sharif brothers were involved in Rs. 50 million corruptions in purchasing medicines for flood affected people.
Addressing a press conference at National Press Club here on Thursday Dr Fakhar Uddin Chaudhry said that sharif brothers purchased medicines worth of Rs. 80 million for the flood affected people without releasing any tender. The actual amount spent for the medicines is Rs 50 million, he claimed.
He said that Punjab government purchased all the medicines from fake pharmaceutical companies. He said that the provincial government spent Rs 19.80 on a blister pack of tablets, however, the real prices of this pack in open market is Rs. 3.30 while syrup of Rs 10.95 has been purchased at Rs 39.00.
The Information Secretary further said that sharif brothers used national exchequer for their personal benefits, as they spent Rs 80 billion of PWB for their accommodations and Rs 70 million of Sui gas used for their residence. He said that sharif brothers used Rs 300 million for the construction of a road which goes to their house while 180 million used for construction of a canal for the renovation of the house.
He said that telephone cable worth of Rs 220 million has been stretched and Rs 50 million has been spent to lay down electric cable to facilitate the sharif brothers.
Dr Fakhar uddin further said that sharif brothers are also involved transferring money to the other countries though different currencies but no action has been seen so far against them. He alleged that sharif brothers have close links with banned outfits and Punjab government is providing “chanda” to these banned outfits.
Talking about the mismanagement of Board Of Intermediate & Secondary Education he said that provincial government is will fully destroying the educational system of the province as they hired services of Dr Majid who is close relative of Ishaq Dar and is right hand of the provincial government.
He demanded that Chief Justice of Pakistan should take suo moto against the corruption of Punjab government and all the details should be disclosed to the masses.
Answering to question Provincial secretary information that their party respects the verdicts of Supreme Court however; it is our opinion that justice should be implemented equally in all provinces. Supreme Court’s verdict should be implemented with its true spirit, he added.
He said that Chief Justice should take notice of corruption of Punjab government.
To another question, he said that his party jointly worked with PML-N in the great interest of the country and initially Nawaz sharif assured them that with combined efforts we would succeed to control the problems of our country.
He said that law enforcement agencies are providing protocol services to sharif brothers and their blue eyed personalities.
He said that chief minister Shahbaz sharif visited flood affected areas on motorcycle and mocked with the affected people.


Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been killed, interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said in Tripoli today.

Gadhafi reportedly shot on the run
Fighters attacked the house where Moammar Gadhafi was hiding and shot him when he tried to flee, a spokesman for Libya's new government says.


Gadhafi reportedly shot on the run
Fighters attacked the house where Moammar Gadhafi was hiding and shot him when he tried to flee, a spokesman for Libya's new government says.

Gaddafi dies of injuries after capture

Former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi has been reported killed due to injuries after an earlier capture in the town of Sirte.

Bahrain sentences 20 protesters to jail

A Bahraini military court has given six-month jail terms to 20 more people arrested during anti-regime protests in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

Thursday's verdicts came as the court issued more than 130 convictions related to anti-government demonstrations against the ruling monarchy.

The harsh sentences have drawn international criticism. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “deep concern” over the sentences and called for the release of all political detainees in Bahrain.

The Saudi-backed Al Khalifa regime of Bahrain has been dealing with protesters harshly since the popular uprising began in the Persian Gulf sheikhdom in mid-February.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds of others, including physicians and academics, have been jailed.

Some of them say they were tortured while in custody. International lawyers have filed suit against the Bahraini regime at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Detained US protesters demand jury trial

Two dozen Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters that had been arrested for trespassing on state property have appeared in a US court, pleading not guilty and asking for jury trials.
Some of the detained protesters were released while others were charged and fined. Yet, several more protesters that refused to plead guilty have demanded a jury trial.Some of the protesters had previously warned that they would demand a jury trial and pursue charges against arresting officers if the charges against them weren't dropped, Bloomberg reported.In an apparent attempt to bring an end to the steadily growing protest rallies, the New York police had previously arrested hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters for joining a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1.

The OWS protest began September 17 in the US in opposition to the corporatism that overshadows the country. It has now become a popular widespread movement against capitalism and corporatism throughout the US. The people of Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and others are also protesting along similar lines. According to a Press TV survey, many believe that the American Awakening -- represented by the OWS movement -- is in direct response to the misguided financial policies of the US establishment, thought to be behind the country's current economic crisis.

Global anti-capitalism protesters also demand an end to widespread corruption and inequality that accompany capitalism. European demonstrators have expressed solidarity with the OWS movement by often using the keyword occupy for their mottos and slogans in protest rallies.

Muammar Gaddafi killed in gun battle
Abdul Hakim Belhaj, a NTC military chief, has confirmed that Muammar Gaddafi has died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte.

Another NTC commander said that Moussa Ibrahim, former spokesman for Muammar Gaddafi's fallen government, was captured near the Sirte.

Abdul Hakim Al Jalil, commander of the 11th brigade, also said he had seen the body of the chief of Gaddafi's armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr.

"I've seen him with my own eyes," he said and showed Reuters a picture of Jabr's body.

"Moussa Ibrahim was also captured and both of them were transferred to (our) operations room."

Earlier, Jamal abu-Shaalah, a field commander of NTC, told Al Jazeera that the toppled leader had been seized, but it was not clear whether he was dead or alive.

"He's captured. He's wounded in both legs ... He's been taken away by ambulance," Abdel Majid, a senior NTC military official said.

The news came shortly after NTC claimed capturing Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, after weeks of fighting.

NATO and the US state department said it cannot confirm any reports. Meanwhile in Benghazi, crowds gathered in the streets to start celebrating the reports of Gaddafi's death.


Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead, reported Al-Ahrar, a National Transitional Council TV station. It didn't cite a source and the news couldn't be independently confirmed.

Clinton Issues Blunt Warning to Pakistan


Setting the stage for a high-level diplomatic showdown, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly warned Pakistan’s leaders on Thursday that they would face serious consequences if they continued to tolerate safe havens for extremist organizations that have crossed the border to attack Americans and Afghans. “There’s no place to go any longer,” Mrs. Clinton said, referring to Pakistan’s leadership, in some of the Obama administration’s most pointed language to date. “The terrorists are on both sides” of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. “They are killing both peoples,” she said.

“No one should be in any way mistaken about allowing this to continue without paying a very big price,” Mrs. Clinton said before leaving for Pakistan for what is certain to be a tense visit by an unusually powerful American delegation sent to demand greater Pakistani cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda and other extremists groups.

Mrs. Clinton will be joined by the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, and the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David H. Petraeus, who stepped down as the senior military commander in Afghanistan this year.

Senior administration officials have described the delegation as an attempt by the administration to display a united front to a Pakistani government that appears increasingly suspicious toward — if not openly hostile to — American policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While those officials suggested they hoped to persuade the Pakistanis to cooperate, Mrs. Clinton’s remarks here in Afghanistan’s capital suggested the delegation would deliver a much sharper warning as well.

Her remarks underscored the fact that the war in Afghanistan — along with the hopes for a smooth American withdrawal by 2014 — has become fully intertwined with Pakistan’s own insurgents, some of whom have the support of the country’s security services.

That has brought the relationship with Pakistan to a new low following a year of tensions — from the arrest of a C.I.A. officer , to the secret raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, to the attack on the United States Embassy here last month, which General Dempsey’s predecessor, Adm. Mike Mullen, blamed on elements within Pakistan’s top spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

Mrs. Clinton, appearing with Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Kazai, said that Pakistan could “either be helping or hindering” efforts to find both a military and a political resolution to the war here. It is now, she said, “a time for clarity.”

“We will be delivering a very clear message to the government of Pakistan and to the people of Pakistan because they too have suffered,” she said, beneath a canopy of trees at the presidential palace here. “They have suffered at the hand of the same kind of terrorists. So there should be no support and no safe haven anywhere for people who kill innocent, men women and children.”

Mr. Karzai, who has repeatedly accused Pakistan of interference in Afghanistan, echoed her remarks, saying that Pakistan has long harbored enemies of his government, including the Taliban, whose leadership fled there after the American invasion in 2001.

While the Obama administration has pressed Afghanistan to seek reconciliation with some elements of the Taliban, Mr. Karzai said on Thursday that that would not be possible without the positive involvement of Pakistan.

“We believe that the Tabilan to a very, very great extent — to a very, very great extent — are controlled by establishments in Pakistan, stay in Pakistan, have their headquarters in Pakistan, launch attacks from Pakistan,” he said.

Tentative and still-fruitless efforts to lure the Taliban into a peace process were dealt a severe setback when a man purporting to be a peace envoy killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a former president, using a bomb hidden in his turban.

His assassination, shortly after a carefully planned attack on the American Embassy last month, raised doubts about how many, if any, members of the Taliban are interested in a peace agreement.

Mrs. Clinton met Mr. Rabbani’s son, Salahuddin, at a meeting with Afghan lawmakers, officials and advocates at the American Embassy here on Thursday morning, expressing her condolences even as she encouraged a continuation of the efforts he began. “He was a brave man, trying to do the right thing,” she told him.

“We will make sure we continue his vision,” Mr. Rabbani replied.

Gadhafi captured

Revolutionary fighters have captured deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Libyan television said Thursday, citing the Misrata Military Council.

That report, however, could not be independently confirmed.

Horns blared and celebratory gunfire burst into the air in Tripoli.

"It's a great victory for the Libyan people," said Libyan Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam.

Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years. The mercurial leader came to power in a bloodless coup against King Idris in 1969, when he was just an army captain.

By the end of his rule, he claimed to be "King of Kings," a title he had a gathering of tribal leaders grant him in 2008.

But a February uprising evolved into civil war that resulted in ousting the strongman from power.

But whether Thursday turns out to be the biggest day in recent Libyan history was still uncertain. Statements made by representatives of Libya's new leadership in the past have not always turned out to be true.

Many were waiting for photographs as proof of Gadhafi's capture.

Earlier, anti-Gadhafi fighters said they had wrested control of the last holdout of loyalists in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. They said they were still battling pockets of resistance, but they were in control of the district.

Sirte has been the big prize for Libya's National Transitional Council, waiting for the coastal city to fall to officially declare liberation.

Most residents abandoned Sirte in the many weeks of fierce battles that raged there. Revolutionary forces have fought Gadhafi's men street by street, cornering the last vestiges of the old regime to that last district.

Gadhafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged crimes against humanity has not been seen in public in months. Many believed he was hiding out in Sirte after rebel forces marched into Tripoli in August.

Hillary Clinton seeks political exit to Afghan war

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to hold talks with the Afghan president in Kabul Thursday, pushing diplomatic moves ahead of international conferences aimed at ending the 10-year war.

The top US diplomat was expected to meet President Hamid Karzai for talks before lunch, as she seeks to build on the "diplomatic surge" she announced earlier this year, a senior state department official told travelling media.

Ten years after the US-led invasion, Karzai's reconciliation efforts were derailed by the September assassination of peace broker Burhanuddin Rabbani and the Taliban are perceived to pose an increasingly wide threat in Afghanistan.

Concern is also growing among Afghans about the prospect of a return to civil strife after 2014, when the US-led NATO mission is scheduled to withdraw combat troops and hand over responsibility to Afghan security forces.

"She will want to emphasise that the United States remains committed to Afghan reconciliation," a senior US official said, particularly in the wake of the September 20 assassination of Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan.

Rabbani headed a government council seeking a political settlement with the insurgents. A powerful Tajik, he was a leader in the Northern Alliance that fought the former Taliban regime and assisted US troops in the 2001 invasion.

Before seeing Karzai, Clinton met civil society leaders in the capital, including Rabbani's son Salahuddin Rabbani, who now heads his father's political party, Jamiat-e-Islami.

A conference of regional powers to be held in Istanbul in early November, and an international meeting of foreign ministers in Bonn, Germany, in early December, would be part of discussions.

"She'll want to talk to President Karzai about the importance of Afghanistan being linked to the region... so she'll want to talk about our diplomatic efforts coming up in Istanbul," said the senior official.

After 10 years of military conflict in Afghanistan that has cost thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, Washington is grappling for a negotiated exit to the war ahead of the 2012 US presidential elections.

Tentative discussions with the Taliban aimed at full peace talks have so far come to nothing, officials acknowledge, and Western powers have been attempting to draw in the help of Afghanistan's neighbours, with little success so far.

Many Afghans hold Pakistan responsible for the war's long course, given that senior Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have strongholds along the restive border that separates the two countries.

Clinton is due in Pakistan after her talks in Kabul, where she is expected to step up pressure on Islamabad to take action against Taliban havens.

Nevertheless, the United States needs to tread a careful line, knowing that the nuclear-armed nation will be a key stakeholder in any eventual political settlement in Afghanistan.

"(Clinton) agrees with President Karzai that Pakistani cooperation is critical on the issues in Afghanistan, so she'll consult with him," the senior official added.

Nearly two years ago, the United States sent an extra 33,000 troops into Afghanistan in a bid to break the back of the Taliban insurgency.

Despite touted successes in the Taliban heartland in the south, violence has spread to previously peaceful parts in the west and north, and the perception of security in Kabul has deteriorated after some high-profile attacks there.

The first tranche of those troops returned home this summer, while the remaining 23,000 troops are set to return by the end of summer 2012, with all NATO-led combat forces scheduled to leave by the end of 2014.

There are currently 98,000 US troops out of a total NATO-led force of 130,000 deployed to Afghanistan, fighting an insurgency that remains virulent across the country, with the war now focused on the eastern border with Pakistan.

But experts doubt the ability of the Afghan army and police to fight the Taliban alone, and US officials and officers have suggested that a smaller US military contingent could remain beyond the 2014 deadline in a combat role.

Long-term strategic arrangements between the two countries would also be discussed during Clinton's visit, the senior official said.

PPP warns PML-N of tit for a tat

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that PML-N President Nawaz Sharif had backstabbed PPP leadership by forgetting that he owed to Benazir Bhutto for returning to the country. Speaking at a hurriedly convened press conference, Firdaus lashed out at the PML-N for targeting President Asif Ali Zardari by carrying out character assassination of the ‘symbol of federation’. The minister urged Nawaz not to unleash a covert war in Sindh under the guise of sympathising with the flood-affected people and rather urged him to adopt a political discourse in order to politically counter the PPP. “Rather than making covert political attacks in Sindh disguised as sympathising with the flood victims, Nawaz should make a political move and we will welcome him,” she said, adding that Sharif was shedding crocodile tears to win the support of flood victims but was doing nothing for them.

Immigration system at Pak-Afghan border soon

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said the government is going to implement immigration system along Pak-Afghan border in Chaman and Torkham from November.

Addressing a news conference at Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Wednesday, Malik said the government would revive the biometric computerised system by November 30 to screen all people travelling across the Pak-Afghan border.

The move has been made after frequent terror attacks and increase in sectarian violence in Balochistan.

The interior minister said he had come to Quetta with the task to discuss three issues, including illegal cross border activities, target killings of Hazara community and negotiations with those angry Baloch nationalists who had taken to hills. He was accompanied by Home Minister Zafarullah Zehri on the occasion. Malik visited the Chaman border and also held meetings with members of the Hazara community and Sunni leaders in Quetta.

Speaking about biometric computerised system, he said, “It will be most modern system aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from crossing into Pakistan, and keep a check on cross-border activities.” He added, “I have talked to officials and tribesmen on either side of the border and they have expressed their willingness to extend their cooperation to curb the activities of illegal immigrants.”

He said people would not be allowed to enter or exit through Pak-Afghan border without screening by November 30. He disclosed that he had intelligence reports that terrorists, including those behind sectarian violence in Balochistan, were operating from prisons in the province and had contacts with banned organisations in Punjab.

He said massive crackdown had been launched in different jails following the intelligence reports. “Officials have recovered mobile phones and other things, which indicate involvement of terrorists in sectarian attacks,” he added.

He said that terrorists had contacts with Punjab based banned outfits.

He announced that the government intended to convene a ‘Peace Conference’ in Quetta in November, which will be attended by all the Islamic scholars, intellectuals and religious leaders, including Imam-e-Kaaba.

“It is meant to give a clear message of peace,” he said. He said efforts were underway to supplement the Evidence Act after suggestions made by the provincial home minister and home secretary that the Act needed to be supplemented in order to improve the process.

About reconciliation process in Balochistan, the interior minister reiterated that the government was serious in addressing the grievances of people of Balochistan.

“I again offer to those Baloch angry people who took to hills: For God sake lay down your arms and join the negotiation process,” he asserted.

Afghan exhibition concludes on positive note

The three-day Afghan Cultural and Industrial Exhibition concluded at the Nishtar Hall here on Wednesday with a positive note that more such events would be held in future to strengthen the cultural bonds between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The exhibition, arranged by the culture wing of the Afghan Consulate General in Peshawar, was visited by a large number of people, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ministers Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Syed Aqil Shah and Sardar Hussain Babak, students from various public and private schools, colleges and universities, artisans and people from various walks of life.

About 20 stalls of handmade carpets, handicrafts, Afghan jewellery, paintings, garments and footwear were set up at the Nishtar Hall gallery. The portraits of Afghan heroes and former rulers including Ahmad Shah Abdali, Ghazi Amanullah Khan, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Mirwais Neeka and legends in literature, art and culture were also displayed.

Parveen Malal, cultural attaché at the Afghan Consulate General, told The News that such events would strengthen the bonds between the two brotherly countries and promote cultural activities.

Expressing satisfaction over the provincial government’s cooperation, she said the event provided an opportunity to Afghan traders to showcase their products and attract customers. She said it also provided an opportunity to the younger generation to know about their heroes, forefathers’ dresses, customs and traditions and the way of life.

“The television channels in Afghanistan will show the event. It will help promote our centuries-old culture and trade activities,” she said, adding that such exhibitions should be held in Kabul and Jalalabad and also in Islamabad.

The Afghan Students Union, Peshawar took an active part in the event. President Riaz, Vice-President Najeeb Nangyal and External Affairs In-Charge Waheedullah of the union were present to receive and guide the guests.

Haji Khan and Qari Zareef were among those manning their stalls of hand-woven carpets. They said they have been doing carpet business at Khyber Bazaar since 1980s, though they complained about decline in their trade due to various reasons. They said business was lucrative in the 1980s and even till the late 1990s but the wave of militancy affected it to a great extent.

“Eight out of the 15 carpet markets in Khyber Bazaar have been closed due to the decline in the business. The militancy and insecurity in the region affected our business while the electricity loadshedding and economic crisis aggravated the situation,” argued Qari Zareef.

He said about 70 percent carpets were imported from Afghanistan and 30 percent were made locally. He and the other carpet makers complained that traders from Punjab and other cities were also contributing to the decline of the carpet business in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by running a propaganda campaign about the law and order situation and thus discouraging customers to come to the province.

They also complained that Afghan nationals having refugee cards were not allowed to open bank accounts and get driving licence in Pakistan. They asked the government to facilitate them by resolving these issues. They also demanded that the police should be directed not to harass the traders while shifting their carpets and other products legally and ease custom duty on the carpets imported from Afghanistan.

Clinton arriving today in Pakistan

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Islamabad on Thursday for talks with Pakistani leaders aimed at jump-starting a troubled relationship.

Secretary Clinton, who was in Kabul on Wednesday, and her team are expected to meet Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The visit is her own initiative and has been portrayed in the US media as “a list-ditch effort” to salvage America’s partnership with Pakistan.

She is coming at a time when US-Pakistan relations have plunged to a new low following accusations by senior American officials that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency is using the Haqqani network to wage a proxy war in Afghanistan and to attack US and foreign forces. It also takes place against the backdrop of a reported US and Afghan troop build-up along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

On Wednesday, State Department’s spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing in Washington that the US wanted to engage Pakistan constructively and was also seeking to improve relations between Pakistan and India and Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“We need good relations between Pakistan and India. We need good, constructive relations between India and Afghanistan, between Afghanistan and Pakistan so that all three countries can prosper and increase stability and peace in the area,” he said.

“Certainly, an important element of that in Pakistan and elsewhere is strengthening democratic institutions and democratic governance.”

CIA Director David Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Martin Dempsey and Under-Secretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy will join Secretary Clinton in Islamabad.

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